Term of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Douglass H. Thomson

Committee Member 1

Caren Town

Committee Member 2

Gautam Kundu


This thesis provides an overview of the current ongoing debates regarding Indian autobiographies and their relevance to Sherman Alexie’s Young Adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The introduction and subsequent chapters provide a background on Indian autobiographies and present a critical reading of Alexie’s text, arguing that, just as Indian autobiographies address the stereotype of the vanishing Indian, Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary deals with the theme of the vanishing Indian. Over the course of the novel, the reader witnesses the increasing loss of Arnold’s activism in his Indian culture. The thesis also discusses the bicultural aspect present in Indian autobiographies. This factor has led autobiographical scholars to consider these works abject due to the fact that they cannot be seriously considered as authentically Indian life stories. Likewise, Arnold’s collaboration with whites at Reardan calls into question how Indian Arnold’s autobiography is at the conclusion of his diary. This thesis argues that Arnold’s finished diary indicates that Arnold’s thinking about Indians remains consistent with the manner in which whites regard Indians. As a result, the pattern of the vanishing Indian seen in Indian autobiographies is evident in Alexie’s novel as illustrated by Arnold’s assimilation into white society.

Research Data and Supplementary Material